Eggs are a staple in many peoples’ diets. Whether you like to eat them scrambled, over-easy, or in your favorite baking recipes, eggs make a great addition to any paleo diet. But eggs have a secret weakness that many people don’t know about. This weakness could potentially put you and your family at risk of consuming harmful bacteria (such as salmonella).
Fortunately, there is something you can do to minimize your risk of being harmed by the eggs in your fridge, and it’s simpler than you may think. By simply flipping your eggs in the carton upside-down, you can reduce the risk of your eggs developing bacteria inside. You can also help your eggs last longer. Don’t believe it? Here’s why flipping eggs upside-down is recommended.
Understanding the Anatomy of an Egg
Before you can understand how in the world turning an egg upside-down can reduce bacteria growth inside, you need to learn about the anatomy of an egg. If you’ve ever cracked an egg open before, you probably noticed a pocket of air on one end. This air pocket is located on the wide end of the egg and grows larger as the egg ages. We’ll talk more about this air pocket and how it relates to egg freshness in a minute.
The other parts of the internal egg include the egg white and the egg yolk. The egg yolk is kept intact by a material called albumen. This is the delicate white substance that helps the yolk retain its shape. The albumen offers some protection to the egg yolk, as does the egg white. Since egg white is alkaline, bacteria can’t grow within it as easily as it can grow in an acidic environment. The yolk of an egg, however, is particularly susceptible to bacterial growth if bacteria can get to it. That’s where turning your eggs upside-down comes in.
Though the air pocket may seem harmless, it can potentially harbor harmful bacteria (such as salmonella) inside it. The goal of turning your eggs upside-down is to get the bacteria-susceptible yolk as far away from the air pocket as possible.
When you turn an egg pointy-side down, the yolk and egg whites naturally fall away from the air bubble at the blunt end of the egg. Of course, the older the egg is, the harder it is to keep the yolk from the air bubble because the air bubble grows over time. This may seem strange at first, but consider the fact that an eggshell has hundreds of thousands of tiny holes in it that allow air to enter over time. That’s why an older egg will float in a glass of water while a fresh egg will sink.
When you store eggs blunt-side down in the carton, the air sac is located at the bottom of the egg. The air is constantly trying to get to the top of the egg, so it pushes against the yolk and albumen. On the other hand, when an egg is stored pointy side down, the air bubble is already located at the top and doesn’t have to push against the yolk and albumen to get there. As a result, the yolk and albumen are more likely to stay intact (and free from bacteria).
Help Your Eggs Last Longer
To help your eggs last longer and reduce the likelihood of them becoming spoiled by harmful bacteria, make it a habit to turn them over in the carton as soon as you buy them. It’s such a small step that can make such a big difference in the safety and longevity of your eggs (especially if you don’t plan to use them right away).